Georgia will ban paid-for commercial surrogacy from 1 January, 2024.
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said this week (12 June) that paid-for commercial surrogacy will now only be permitted for Georgian citizens, in line with rules in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Britain.
This will end a booming industry, with the PM citing safety concerns for both surrogate mothers and children, and trafficking risks.
The draft law is now before the Georgian Parliament.
Garibashvili said: “We think it will be approved in the fall, and it will come into effect on 1 January, 2024.”
Health Minister Zurab Azarashvili said the change will apply to foreigners seeking to use IVF services such as donor eggs, pointing to “unethical and bad practices” due to lax surrogacy regulation.
These include "child selling" and "organ trafficking", Azarashvili said.
"Since the issue was left unregulated, we were unable to track where these children were going," the minister added.
Lawyers and notaries will also be banned from notarising agreements from this date.
The health minister also suggested that surrogacy arrangements for natives may be only permitted on an altruistic rather than commercial basis.
Economic difficulties have led many women to provide the services at cheap prices which made the country attractive to foreigners, who account for 98% of commercial clients.
Commercial surrogacy is banned in most Western countries because of exploitation and child-commodification concerns.
Bans in India and Russia led clients to Georgia as an alternative, observers note.
The Colombian government has also recently drafted laws to ban foreigners from using paid-for commercial surrogacy in that country.
Ukraine has also drawn up draft legislation which proposes a ban on paid-for surrogacy unless the intended parent is married to a citizen of Ukraine.
The draft law in Ukraine also prohibited agencies from any advertising aimed at attracting surrogates.